Tibetan lama statue fetches a whopping 56 times its estimated value at Norfolk auction
PUBLISHED: 11:32 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:57 03 December 2018
A rare bronze statue of a Tibetan lama - a high priest - has sold at a Norfolk auction for £56,000, 56 times the expected price.
The statue sold on Tuesday as part of a three-day Winter Fine Sale at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham.
The 21.5cm-tall piece is described as a rare, fine and delicately cast Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze of a Lama seated cross-legged on a lotus base with details inlaid in Tibetan script.
The base plate is sealed and incised with a double Vajra, and this possibly depicts a Dalai Lama.
The auction house had thought the statue would make somewhere between £800 and £1,200.
Kevin Lines, director and general manager at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers, said the final price cane as a surprise to everyone.
Mr Lines said: “The bronze lama which we auctioned this week was very special – rare and very finely made. Our pre-sale estimate was conservative, and we thought that it might well sell for more, but no-one foresaw it reaching the price it did.”
He said the sale reflected a growing interest in Asian artefacts.
He said: “There is a thriving market for oriental art and ceramics at the moment, not just in the UK, but with buyers from Asia and the US as well.
“On the same day that the bronze lama reached £56,000, we also sold a Chinese porcelain vase for over £20,000 – against its pre-sale estimate of £250-£350.”
Keys said the buyer, who was in the UK, wished to remain anonymous.
They said there was stiff competition for statue, and at one stage there were nine telephone bidders, as well as several on the internet and in the room. In the end it came down to two bidders, one on the phone and one online.
Mr Lines said: “This is the advantage of the auction room. With internet bidding and international, marketing allowing us to reach buyers all around the world, an auction will see items achieve their true value. Here at Keys we have a reputation amongst collectors and dealers, which means that we can compete on equal terms with London and international auction houses from here in Norfolk.”
The Winter Fine Sale concludes today (Thursday).
Keys’ next event is a two-day book sale on December 6-7, which includes a rare collection of nearly 60 first edition Beatrix Potter books.